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Sponge life on Rathlin’s North Wall

22 Apr

There really is a great variety of non fish aquatic life on Rathlin. It was reported recently in various publications that there was something like 70 new species of sponge identified during a survey of the water surrounding Rathlin Island. Some of these can be seen on Waterworld a programme broadcast on BBC last Autumn. Not sure if this footage shows any or not. There is some Grey elephant sponge though

Diving Skellig Michael – Co.Kerry

19 Jul

Definately one of the best dives I have ever done, despite average conditions for the site (only 20 metres viz). We had a very pleasant trip out to the rock courtesy of Captain Joe and his dog Winkle. We were on a 30 footer hard bottom vessel, the standard boat type for the excursions out to the rock.

We were accompanied by our non diving woman folk some of whom waited on the rock and some of whom stayed on baord for the duration of the dive. As it turned out we made a 45min one tank dive consisting of a gentle drift along a wall covered in the most magnificantly coloured jewel anemomes along to a similarly decorated pinnacle about 30 metres in diameter and dropping down to 100+m. Crays and lobster were rife, as were the multitude of fish species many of which remaining unidentified.

The site comprised of a series of walls, shelves and gullies and would have been perfect for divers with less experience than us bottoming out at just over 30 metres apart from the pinnacle. With DSMB deployed we carried out a saftey stop after a rather lengthy off gasing spell at about 12metres while exploring the pinnacle.

De-kitting was an interesting experience, using a mixture of stretching reaches and ropes to get all our bits and pieces backm onto the boat and preserve the integrety of the ladder (we were forbidden from climbing it fully kitted, not to save our legs but to safe the ladder from being “ripped off the feckin boat”) – Sorry Joe!

So after the most perfect dive, couldn’t be matched in many remote dive resorts worldwide, we were treated to an amazing site which is little Skellig, home to hundreds of thousands of birds, Gannets, Gillamots, Razorbills, Fulmars, Kittywakes to name but a few.

I will definately be back! As usual there are photos on Flickr and videos at usual spots on my blog and on If you don’t know the links by now, happy googling and or searching on respective sites!

The arches – Rathlin North Wall

27 Apr

This shot and others where taken last summer on the north wall of Rathlin Island. It is a fantastic dive incorporating underwater arches at 25m and 35m. I have a short video of the arches available at Follow the link to watch videos, then hold mouse over the images to see the locations before clicking on one to watch it.

  • Site Name: The Arches
  • Location: North west side of Rathlin (will try to get GPS)
  • Depth and profile: 20m to 100m+!, Start at 10m work down to 35m then gradually ascend wall to 20m back on to shelf for end of dive and saftety stops.
  • Points of Interest: the arches them selves and of course the abundance of live, including diving birds, lots of shoaling fish
  • Reasons why I like it: Usually good visability, and the chance to dive in the “deep blue”
  • Stories: blocked drysuit dump, nearly casued run away ascent, A wet chest saved the!
  • Things I have found: Wide variety or marine and avian life, diving birds is a highlight!
  • Tips: Follow the contour of the underwater ridge to arrive right on the arches, coming from the east. Must be good weather to avoid mental underwater currents, going all directions. Stay close to the wall, there are up and down currents.Occaisonally lobster pots and lines to look out for but the exception rather than the rule
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